My job is helping my students discover what’s important. Sometimes that takes guts.

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Techniques, gear, and even concepts can be cool and exciting — but that doesn’t mean they’re necessarily important to your self defense. My job, the way I earn my living, is to figure out what’s really important for my students and readers and then how to explain it to them. How and why do I do that?

Some people miss the point

One of the more interesting comments I hear (and I’m not the only one who gets these) comes in the form ...

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Your Hump Day Reading List for February 3, 2016

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Another great collection of articles for you this week! Rob Pincus shows you how to take your guns with you when flying; Ian McCollum takes apart a Savage .45 pistol; a look at why safety isn’t in the gear you carry; how to recycle range brass for reloading; a detailed explanation of what “going gray” really means; how to keep your defensive handgun in perfect operating condition; and why 100-yard headshots with a pistol don’t make any sense. Read, learn ...

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What self defense ammunition is best for the 9mm carbine?

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I’ve often said that I’m in favor of the pistol-caliber carbine, either autoloading or lever action, as a home and homestead defense weapon under some circumstances. Why the carbine? Because it affords the defender some advantages over the handgun as a defensive tool without the disadvantages of going to a full-powered rifle.

First, it’s easier to shoot to any given level of precision than a handgun. The carbine’s four points of contact with the body versus the single point of contact ...

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.22LR rifle reviews suck. Here’s why.

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The other day I posted an article to social media about Eley’s newest .22LR hunting ammunition, suggesting that people who’ve never tried really good rimfire ammo haven’t a clue how much difference in performance it can make in their rifles. That comment reminded me of a .22 rifle “test” I read a couple of months ago, one which reinforced a simple fact:

.22 rifle reviews suck.

Darned near all of them, anyhow (and I’m only hedging my bets on the off chance that ...

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Your Hump Day Reading List for January 27, 2016

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Gosh, is it Wednesday already? This week renowned author Sam Harris expounds on self defense; we look at how people try to sell you fear, and how you can avoid it; Rob Pincus does his best to demystify the gun for non-shooters; how to keep your flashlight in perfect operating condition; a great article on the historical basis of self defense and why firearms are tied to that ideal; and Greg Ellifritz has some good advice about dealing with the ...

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Grant’s SHOT Show 2016 Adventure, Part 1: the Kimber K6s revolver and new FourSevens flashlights

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I’ve got a lot to talk about, so this post will be longer than usual. I hope you’ll take the time to read, however, because I think there’s some really interesting news.

First things first: SHOT Show, for those who don’t know, is the shooting industry’s annual trade show. Held in Las Vegas, it attracts some 60,000 people over four days (five, if you’re in the media and attend Range Day before the show opens) of displays and seminars. Any company that’s ...

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Your Hump Day Reading List for January 20, 2016

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This is SHOT Show week, but that hasn’t stopped me from bringing you another crop of great articles! First, Greg Ellifritz explains castle doctrine; then a PDN video about improvised weapons; after that, a look at shooting rifles to extreme precision; some talk about intuition and why it’s important; Ian McCollum looks at a gun so crude no one wanted to shoot it; I found a great article about flashlights and their beams; and The Tactical Professor talks about gunhandling ...

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Do you carry religiously? You may not be as safe as you believe.

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I know that most of the people reading this blog are here to learn about defensive shooting, concealed carry, firearms training, and related topics. The rest are interested in things like rifles, revolvers, reloading, and other technical issues. In other words, regardless of the group into which you fit, if you’re reading this you’re probably a “gun person” — and despite what the media might try to tell you, there’s nothing inherently wrong with that. It can, however, limit your ...

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The problem with defensive shooting is that it’s dominated by enthusiasts. That’s not necessarily good for you.

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I have a confession to make: I once screwed up a lot of people who came to me for advice. Wait, it’s not what you think! It does, however, directly apply to what I do today, and probably why you’re reading this blog. Allow me to relate my short story.

Back in my much-younger days I ran a chain of camera stores and taught photography classes. It was the early 1980s and photography was the fad of the day, spurred mainly ...

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Your Hump Day Reading List for January 13, 2016

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Today I bring you some thoughts about getting older; Ian McCollum has a video about a Savage that isn’t a rifle; Greg Ellifritz talks about jammed guns in active shooter incidents; I found a great review of a neat lever-action rifle; Tiger McKee has some pithy words about the gear and training you really need; and a superb article about using your mouth instead of your gun.

 

You’re going to age. Have you factored that into your defensive training?

I recently wrote ...

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SHOT Show is coming up — will YOU be there? I sure will!

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It’s time once again for the annual Shooting, Hunting, and Outdoor Trade Show — also known as SHOT. This annual event, held in Las Vegas in January, brings together the largest number of companies in the shooting world so that everyone “in the business” can get a look at the latest and greatest products.

I’ll be there again this year looking for those items that have direct application to the field of defensive shooting, personal protection, and family safety. I’ll ...

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Defensive Shooting Myths and Misconceptions: “If I’m limited to 10 rounds, they might as well be .45”

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I remember the days of the 1994 “assault weapons” ban: new magazines over 10 rounds were illegal, and even large double-stack 9mm pistols were required to come with 10 round magazines — and any replacements or additionals we bought were limited to 10 rounds, too. “There era of the ‘wondernine’ is over”, opined writer after writer.

Along with that came a new phrase from those picking which gun to buy: “if the government says I can only carry 10 rounds, they ...

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Maintaining your pocket revolver: 8 tips to keep your defensive gun in tip-top shape.

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If my emails are any indication, there are a lot of people out there carrying a revolver in their pocket. It might be a backup or secondary gun, but for a lot of people — especially those who live in warmer climates — it’s a primary defensive arm.

Now I’ll be the first to admit that here in Oregon we don’t get a lot of truly hot weather. This last summer was an exception to that rule (I endured a record ...

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Your Hump Day Reading List for January 6, 2016

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The first Hump Day List of 2016! To celebrate, I’ve found information on avoiding stalkers; a very forgotten Colt pistol; Ian McCollum talking about some odd rifles from a familiar company; Greg Ellifritz dropping some knowledge about dealing with hostile crowds; Rob Pincus helping you plan ahead; Claude Werner showing how to avoid negative outcomes; and a video about training to overwhelm a shooter even if you don’t have a gun yourself.

 

Would you know how to deal with a stalker?

Recognizing and ...

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Make a News Year’s Personal Security Resolution. Just one. It’s easy.

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Truth be told, I don’t do the New Year’s Resolution thing — at least, not in the traditional sense. I do take a look at the past year, figure out what I did well (and not so well), and make some guidelines to do better in the coming twelve months. I’m more interested in broad strokes, in general directions, than in the details; I’ve found that the more detailed my resolutions, the more quickly they give way to the realities ...

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What did you change your mind about in 2015? Here’s what I did.

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I’ve come to the belief that one of the most profound questions (courtesy of Rob Pincus) you can ask anyone who purports to be a defensive shooting instructor is “what have you changed your mind about?” This isn’t an easy question to answer, and most people you’ll ask will try to wiggle their way out of it: “well, of course the world is always changing, and I’m committed to keeping my knowledge and skills in pace with those changes, blah ...

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Your Hump Day Reading List for Dec 30, 2015

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For this last Hump Day List of 2015, Ian McCollum shows us what a real “mousegun” looks like; another Craigslist deal goes bad; what preparedness items to carry in your vehicle; attackers don’t always fit a profile; someone actually likes the SCAR rifle; Joshua Gideon talks about feeling safe; and Greg Ellifritz shows us the guns criminals actually carry.

 

Mousegun? More like ant-gun.

You’ve probably heard the term mousegun applied to many calibers: it’s generally said about the .25ACP and .32ACP, and ...

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Defensive Shooting Myths and Misconceptions: “I shoot that gun really well.”

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If you spend any time around the internet, whether on gun forums or social media, sooner or later you’ll see someone defending a sub-optimal choice of defensive firearm by saying “I shoot it well.” Now of course everyone is certainly free to carry what they deem fit, and I don’t want to suggest they’re not, but my job is to present factual information to people so that they can make intelligent decisions. I don’t really have any stake in what ...

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Defensive DVD Review: Personal Defense When The Gun Fails

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Personal Defense When The Gun Fails DVD

By Rob Pincus
Published by Personal Defense Network

This DVD was something of a surprise, largely because I didn’t quite know what to expect. When I saw the title “Personal Defense When The Gun Fails”, I immediately thought about malfunctions and remediation drills — and while the DVD touches on those, it goes well beyond them and includes some fresh ideas about how to look at the idea of a failure.

The theme of the ...

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Your Hump Day Reading List for Dec, 16, 2015

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This week we take a look what to do AFTER you’ve defended yourself; paper really can stop bullets; Ian McCollum with another rare and unusual antique revolver; Massad Ayoob covers some court cases gun owners should be aware of; how a holster is made; the Ruger Mini-14 story; what delayed blowback looks like in action; and understanding why blunt trauma is a lethal threat.

 

If you only have time to read one article this week, make it this one.

Let’s say you’ve ...

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Do you need backup sights on a defensive rifle? It depends.

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Do you need backup sights (BUS or BUIS – “backup iron sights”) on your defensive rifle? The answer is a solid “maybe”, because the choice might not be as clear-cut as you may think.

This year’s Bullpup Rifle Experiment taught me a lot; not just about bullpup rifles, but about rifles in general and how we use them. The bullpup’s relative lack of accessory rail space, plus the compacted layout, forced me to think harder about how any rifle should be ...

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Defensive DVD Review: AR-15 Optics

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AR-15 Optics DVD
By Rob Pincus
Published by Personal Defense Network

 

Everyone, it seems, has an AR-15 these days and all of them have need for a good sighting system. There are lots of choices in the market, and this DVD attempts to make sense of the various choices by showing their strong and weak points relative to the job of personal protection at relatively close range.

It’s important to start off by saying that the material isn’t at all specific ...

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Your Hump Day Reading List for Dec. 9, 2015

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This week I’ve got another interesting bunch of articles for you to peruse: Defensive Daddy talks about keeping your kids safe around your guns; a real-world use of the flashlight as a safety tool; dealing with predators that don’t walk upright; an old scam brought back to life by modern technology; guns aren’t just for men any more; Rob Pincus on how flowers really do keep us safe, when they’re backed up by proper use of force; and Jerry Miculek ...

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The important role of a training partner in your defensive shooting skill development.

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In the defensive shooting world we talk a lot about carry guns, calibers, holsters, belts, and all manner of accessories from flashlights to scopes. A large reason for this focus on things is because they’re easily understood and readily quantifiable; it’s easy to compare things by numbers, charts and graphs.

We pay comparatively little attention to concepts and ideas. They’re harder to understand, sometimes impossible to quantify, and require thought and reflection to properly understand and apply.

There is a combination of ...

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Defensive DVD Review: Defensive Mindset with Rob Pincus

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Review: Defensive Mindset DVD

Over the years there has been much written and said on the topic of the defensive mindset. Many defensive shooting courses start with and claim to develop such a mindset, but usually amount to little more than trite sayings and broad exhortations.

Call me jaded if you will, but to be honest that’s what I was expecting when this DVD arrived in my mailbox. It was a pleasant surprise to find something very different than what I anticipated!

This ...

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Your Hump Day Reading List for Dec. 2, 2015

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Hope you and your family had a safe and peaceful Thanksgiving! I know, we all ate too much and are now forced to do exercise penance, but I’d do it all over again — and probably will next year! The holiday didn’t keep me from collecting some great articles, however, and for your reading enjoyment this week Claude Werner talks about changing his mind; the SIG Academy has a different way to talk about the relationship of sight alignment and ...

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Your defensive flashlight: lithium or alkaline? You might be surprised which one I prefer!

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In the last couple of years I’ve become a big proponent of the high intensity compact flashlight as a personal security and defense tool. I use those words specifically because the flashlight is the perfect example of a multi-use device: it serves as an early warning system, by allowing you to detect dangers before you get to them — or they get to you; it sets up a psychological barrier against a human threat, by showing that you’re in control ...

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Your Hump Day Reading List for Nov. 25, 2015

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It’s almost Thanksgiving, and you know what I’m thankful for? All of the great articles I found this week! We’ve got Greg Ellifritz commenting on a particularly ridiculous gun article; some talk about talking with business owners who ban guns on their premises; Richard Johnson reviews an interesting new pistol caliber carbine; saving money while reloading ammunition; Claude Werner looks at the case of a woman who pulled her gun when she really shouldn’t have; and Ian McCollum has the ...

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No, things really haven’t changed: self defense in a post-Paris world.

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The bodies in Paris hadn’t even been buried when the agendas got trotted out.  No, I’m not talking about gun control or immigration restrictions; I’m not talking about refugees or intelligence sharing or air strikes or border checkpoints, either.

I’m talking about the “you need to prepare to deal with this new threat!” brigade.

If you listen to them, the terrorist attacks in public spaces are such a unique and over-riding threat that you must simply develop a new skill set and carry ...

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Defensive DVD Review: Comprehensive Guide To Self Defense

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Comprehensive Guide To Self Defense
Presented by Rob Pincus
I.C.E. Training

This DVD is a bit of a departure from most of the Personal Defense Network productions that I’ve viewed. It’s entirely lecture-based, presented by Rob Pincus in a studio setting, and it’s also one of the most information-dense of the productions I’ve seen!

Comprehensive Guide To Self Defense is Pincus’ “50,000-foot view” of self defense, covering a wide range of topics all of which relate to personal defense in ...

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